Peninsula High junior Shelby Bottiger has never batted under .400 during her high school softball career. That’s a valuable asset for the Seahawks to have.
Bottiger, who batted .485 as a sophomore last year on varsity, sees a lot of pitches.
“I just keep fouling them off until I get the perfect one,” Bottiger said.
Her role model is Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, who makes difficult plays look effortless in the infield. Making her plays look that easy is still a work in process for Bottiger, who moved from the outfield to the middle infield a season ago.
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“The ball is coming a lot faster,” Bottiger said. “You have to know where you’re going in every situation.”
Bottiger is part of a solid young core of players for the Seahawks, which also includes sophomore No. 1 pitcher Kirsten Ritchie, freshman catcher Ali Campigotto, sophomore center fielder Paige Palagyi and sophomore shortstop Bailey Paul, who led the team in batting average a season ago. The young core is complemented by senior third baseman Riley Harper, who boasts a powerful bat.
“We’re going to have the same core group next year,” Bottiger said. “I think we’re just going to be steady the whole time.”
Bottiger, who also plays forward and midfield for the soccer team, is hitting No. 2 in the lineup this season.
“She’s been working hard and we’re hoping for some great things out of her,” said coach Melissa Miller. “She’s got a strong bat and she’s pretty fast. She’s a leader on the team. She was one that was at all the conditioning in the offseason. She led our open gyms.”
She also was one of the girls who launched the team’s Twitter page to generate more interest among students, parents and other fans.
“I just learned how to do Twitter last week,” Miller said, with a laugh.
Peninsula, which earned its first win of the season with a 21-4 bludgeoning of Capital on Friday, was one game away from reaching the Class 3A state tournament last season.
“I always expect good things,” Miller said. “We never know until we see what competition does. I think, so far, we’ll be a pretty strong hitting team. Defensively, we look pretty sound. Depending on what the other teams look like, I think we’ll at least make it to districts. I’d like to say state, but I don’t know.”
While her coach takes the wait-and-see approach, Bottiger is optimistic the team can turn into a legitimate contender, with time.
“We’re such a young team, I think we should just work on our defense,” she said. “Just pressing down on everything. Winning is also necessary. We were one game away from state last year. I think we could get there this year.”